Monday, March 17, 2008

Tough As Nails

Tough As Nails
Originally uploaded by gaikokujinkyofusho

This is Atoi and while I am not sure he is actually “tough as nails” he certainly gives that impression (driving full throttle on narrow Cliffside roads for 15 hours at a time, washing the car in 15F weather with a rag and bare hands, chasing down any of the staff that tries crossing him [being about 6” helps, taller than average here], and just looking pretty tough and weathered [though he is just 65]). He drives like most afghan drivers, absolutely deranged; even my boss whences sometimes and my boss grew up in Afghanistan!

I have to admit though that he is one of my favorite drivers here. I learned how to say “donkey” in Persian from him since he calls everyone on the road (and police) donkeys (borderline obscene here). The mere fact that he looks and talks like he could eat the creosote off a telephone pole helps fend off would be urban-assault-prone-drivers, beggars (who can pick your pocket if they get close enough [though this is rare]), and really helps when I am negotiating in the market. During Ramadan (Ramazan here) he was a one man hurricane, kinda scary actually (to all those who don’t know, during Ramazan people fast during the day which tends to make people pretty grouchy).

Correction: Apparently he is 75 (he has lived in Kabul for 65 years I think) which makes seeing him literally run around all the more impressive